OWS is a service provided to faculty and students in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Contact us with a description of the clipart you are searching for and we'll help you find it. For bilingual children, this time of year may feel a little daunting, especially for those who will be starting school for the very first time. For teachers who are not used to working with bilingual children, there may be an assumption that to help these bilingual children feel comfortable in the classroom they will need extra attention. To help bilingual children the most, it is important that teachers not overdo their support. Be prepared: If possible, find out which languages and cultures are represented by the students in your classroom before school starts.
Be positive: When talking about interesting, exciting or positive elements about other languages, cultures and countries, try to pick out ones that are represented in your students. Be equal: Not all bilingual children feel that they are different from their peers due to their additional languages and cultures.
Be supportive: For those bilingual students who feel embarrassed or uncomfortable because of their home language and culture, try to find ways to help them come to terms with why they feel different. Helping bilingual children gently blossom and shine can take a lot of patience but is an extremely rewarding endeavor.
Book tip: For children starting school for the first time, consider sharing a bilingual edition of Tom and Sofia Start School.
Thank you for the articles you provide to help those of us with classrooms with many English language learners.


Latest Commentsstephen curry one on Bilingual Books to Boost Reading ComprehensionGrace Osborne on Using Music to Help Children Learn LanguagesSamuel T. In addition to all of the feelings that many students face on their first day of school (nervousness about what the teacher may be like, excitement about meeting new friends, concerns about what will be expected), bilingual children may have additional worries: Will they fit it? Instead, teachers should help bilingual children feel welcome and comfortable in the classroom through more subtle and gentle approaches. This will help you know the background of your bilingual students before they even walk through the door. If your bilingual students decide to share information about their language and culture themselves, this is wonderful!
For example, if you are talking about tasty foods around the world, choose ones that happen to be in countries that your students are from.
For these students, don’t emphasize their differences by pointing out how lucky or special they are since they are growing up with more than one language.
A supportive, understanding and gentle teacher can make all the difference in the life of a bilingual child at school. It is a wonderful book to help children become comfortable with their first school experiences.
What tips can you share for other teachers who have bilingual students in their classrooms?
A bilingual child who already feels out of place may feel even more so if a teacher ends up giving him too much special attention. While putting together lesson plans, take into account your students’ linguistic and cultural backgrounds.


When choosing bilingual books to share with your students, pick out ones that include languages that your bilingual students speak.
Even though this may seem like a good idea, it could end up making a perfectly happy child feel separated from peers, which is exactly what you wouldn’t want to do. The reciprocal bonus for the teacher is the opportunity to learn about other cultures and languages through the eyes of the students.
What a bilingual child may want the most is to have the chance to fit in and to be just like everyone else, not singled out due to special circumstances.
Just try not to bring too much attention to bilingual students unless you are certain that they appreciate and benefit from the attention. This will shed a positive light on the languages and cultures of your students which in turn may make your bilingual students feel even more accepted and at home in your classroom.
The more bilingual students a teacher has in class, the more opportunities a teacher has to truly understand and embrace cultural diversity first hand. Just make sure that these discussions are making your bilingual students feel more positive about themselves and not less so.



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